Toastmasters : Finding the Old Me

Hello everyone. On 29th of August 2017, I’ve done my first Project Speech at the Toastmasters. Here I’m presenting the text of my speech for anyone’s reference on Ice-Breaker topic and also for my own keepsake. After reading this, you’re welcome to continue reading my next post as I talked about my experience, tips learnt and some ideas for Toastmasters newbies to kick-off your shot. Click here.

Thank you Toastmasters of the Day and Good Afternoon everyone.
My Name is Saleha, and this is my first speech. It’s on ice-breaker, so I’m gonna tell you a little bit about myself.

First, let’s have a flashback to a time when I was in university, 10 years ago.
When I was a student, I was a really active student. I joined clubs and societies, I involved in events and programmes.
And these activities required me to speak in front of many people, give speeches and lead a team.

In class, whenever the lecturer said; “Anyone wants to volunteer?”
I would go… “Me!” I loved to volunteer in class!

And I loved doing presentations! You know in every subject we have assignments and we have to present our assignments? That was the time I looked forward to in every semester!
Well, not saying that I was so goood. But it’s just something that I enjoyed doing.

So… that’s a little bit about myself when I was in U. But that’s an old story. 10 years ago.

Later, after I graduated, I worked. I worked in a position that was….not presentation-oriented.
I didn’t have to speak in front of many people, I didn’t even involve in open communication.
Most of the time, I worked with the computer. And it was really busy it was all about work, work, work.
I didn’t have time to really join events or be a committee in programmes or be active.

So you can see the difference about myself and my life – when I was studying and working.
And I can say that, in about 8 years of my working life, I never really did a proper presentation.

Except one day. That was… in BP already. There was a group of Graduate Trainees, you know..some of you are GTs here.
So this group of GTs, they made rounds from department to department and they were coming to my department.
So my boss asked me to prepare a presentation for them regarding our job scope.
Just to give them a little exposure about our roles, what we do for the company and all.

So I was like… “Okay, no problem, I can do this.”

Buttt….on the day when I was about to present… I tell you, I was so nervous! So scared I was shaking so bad!
It was only 5 minutes simple presentation but my voice was like cracking all the way I couldn’t speak properly!
I tell you… It was a really, really baddd presentation!

So after the meeting I was like… what happened to me?? Why did I present like that?
I was thinking…these people are GTs. They’re juniors. I am senior. And I was just talking about my daily job so what’s the big deal??
It’s something that I know of, of course I’m good at it so why was I so nervous?? What’s so scary about that??

I felt so embarrassed with myself. I felt so embarrased with my own self!
Because, that was the time I realized that I have change… a lot…
From someone who was confident, well-verse. Now I become very timid and… not convincing at all.

So I thought…. I gotta do something! I gotta change myself I can’t stay this way. I wanna improve myself. I wanna find my old self!

But I was thinking… What do I do? What do I do to improve myself?

And suddenly one day, I met Alex (the TM President) at the Career Fair event that day and he explained to me about Toastmasters.
He explained to me on how it works and what it’s all about.
And I was like… oh, this is good. This is what I was searching for! This is the place I can improve my skills. This is the place… I can find the old me! Right….

So… this is why I’m here today. Speaking, in front of you, for the first time.
Taking the challenge, and making a pledge that I will improve myself.

This is my new beginning. Do you think I can do thisss? *Smile wait for the “YES” =D*

A little bit before I end my speech.

In life, always we hear people say that we have to move forward, move forward, never look back.
But to me, at some points of time, we really do have to take a break, pause for a moment.
Look back, and reassess ourselves. And see, how much different have we been?

Better? Or worse?
If better then good.
If there’s any quality in ourselves that we cherished, that is good… Keep it. Never lose it.

But happened to be, because time passed by and life changed from one phase to another. And we also changed.
We’ve become a different person. Someone we’re not proud of. Not like before.

So what do we do?
We do something, to gain ourselves back!

That’s all for today. Thank you very much everyone. Back to you Toastmasters of the Day.

Till the next post,
SALZY

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Arranging My Bookshelves on Goodreads

I think I’m funny. I played around with the Goodreads apps browsing and adding books only to know that I created 10 shelves in total! Haha… Who on earth needs 10 virtual bookshelves when you can actually load thousands of books in only one default Read shelve with no-collapse assurance? Me, and I have my own justification. :p

Here’s the list of my shelves :

bookshelves

Four Read shelves labelled by years? That’s triggered by my date-oriented nature that really thinks I need to group my books based on the year read. If possible, I wanna sub-group them by months, hehe. But of course it’s not necessitous and as years pass by; it’s gonna be so messy to have these 2018, 2019, 2020 and so forth. I think I will just cancel the rest and only maintain the current year and the default read shelve for older books.

Just for now, I wanted to see my collections since 2015 – the year I revisited this hobby after abandoning it for quite some time. My God I’m so good at abandoning things even they’re some sort of entertainment to me. How could it be, self?

Well, I can say that was since I got married or more factually, married to a no-bookworm. My husband, he doesn’t read books! We still remember a moment in the beginning of our relationship; the ice-breaker phase. On the phone, we talked about our favourites and I told him about my reading pastime. I went on and on talking about my favourite books, this book and that book. And he was like.. clueless. Didn’t know what to reply vis-à-vis books and so he tactically diverted the topic into movies. So then we talked about movies. No more books. Haha. It’s funny to recall it now yet funnier to realize that I didn’t grasp that hint telling me that we’re so contradict so why did I marry this man?! Hahaha..

And so 2015 was the year I returned to reading as I was setting up my goals for the New Year, I searched for things that could activate my brain other than just fulfilling my to-do list with the never-ending house chores and life errands. My current collections are all starting from only 2 years ago and it’s growing I’m loving it!

Moral is, even though we don’t marry someone who shares the same interests with us and even if our spouses are more dominant in influencing us to follow their stuff, it doesn’t mean we have to give up things that we love to do. Sometimes we tend to abandon them just because we donned our head with multiple hats. But hey, don’t let our concerns toward others steal the concern over our own selves, okay? While my husband is not a book lover like I am, that wouldn’t space a distance between us.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Blogging, a Journey

Mission accomplished. Hey, I have reached my target number of blog posts for this year! Yeay.. allow me to congratulate myself for reaching my 50th post in this Salzy Mommyhood WordPress, for 2017. Fifty – that was the target to average about 1 post per week consistently yet obviously I’ve done more than that. Well done, self!

Well, well… I know this cheated a bit. Haha. Because only those ended with “Till the next post, SALZY” are the ones genuinely written by – yours truly. Other posts are just a piece of quote in my Quote-of-the-Day series, some are just straightly copied From-the-Book-I-Read’s so they are not really me writing. Still, the pieces are so meaningful to me hence it’s significant to keep them here in my blog and for sharing with you guys. And hey it’s only August, meaning I still have 4 more months to go so maybe I should renew my blogging goal? We’ll see, we’ll see..

8 months of consistent writing – it’s wonderful, honestly. I’m glad that I took that shot of making a comeback right on the New Year night and did not delay anymore. I found a satisfaction in writing despite the effort I have to make to find time to sit and focus on the monitor. A way to nurture a habit and realize that, when we keep going with the just-do-it attitude, slowly it becomes part of ourselves. If only I could apply this to every discipline I want to pursue in life, I would be a superb human. But no, it’s not that easy. I can apply this in writing because it’s already a passion in me. Other things might be a force that demands a huge motivation to carry on. Well, that’s what life is.

Blogging is also a way to know ourselves better. I just knew that, the best time for me to write is when I am ‘down’. That low period. Sad, worried, stressed, ‘PMS’, disappointed, unhappy, all kinds of negative feelings could be thrusted out by spending time with my other self – blog. It’s not that I rant about the problems I was facing, I talk about something else but the distraction makes me forget about my problems temporarily. It’s like manipulating the commotion I was going through by busily thinking of what to write. Ideas are pouring and words are flowing through my fingers not like other happy time – weirdo me! I also don’t understand why. Haha. And after I finalize a single post with my standard ending, it brings me a sense of accomplishment. It brings back my happy-mood! It’s how blogging works like a therapy to me. Doesn’t solve a problem, but close to it.

Taking this as a journey that has no specific direction, for now. Thinking has never stopped, searching and keep searching. Anything worthy, will be dotted here.

me2017

Till the next post,
SALZY

My Beginning in Toastmasters

Maroon Logo.jpg

Prior to involving myself in Toastmasters, I’ve heard about it a few times and had an idea that it is something related to public speaking. It’s quite popular but I never really knew how it works. When somebody posted about Toastmasters, they would remark it as a place we can learn to improve our skills in communication, presentation and public speaking. I wasn’t really interested because public speaking is never my thing. When it comes to giving presentation, my timid personality becomes so dominant. Frankly speaking, I’m not a confident and skilled speaker.

But in my office, we have this BP Asia BSC Toastmasters Club formed under the company. Employees are encouraged to join for self-development but it’s not compulsory. My boss has been forwarding the info about this programme but I never really bothered to dig further. As this year one of my goals is to get involved in more non-work activities at the workplace, I thought it’s time to give my shot for Toastmasters so I began attending the bi-weekly meetings as guest.

I heard from outside independent clubs, one has to pay certain fees in order to become a member so he or she can participate in the activities. But in here, because everything is sponsored, whoever wants to become a member has to fulfil three requirements:

  1. Give a 2-minute Impromptu Speech during Table Topic Session. There will be 4-6 topics for anyone from the room to volunteer to pick one topic related to the theme of the day and talk about it, spontaneously! The picks could be in a form of vocabularies, idioms or questions.
  2. Take up a roll during the meeting. There are three main rolls to be filled so we can choose any one from these :
    • Ah-CounterThe purpose of an Ah-Counter is to note any speech crutches a speaker made during his speech like ‘ah’, ‘urm’, ‘lah’ or anything that do not have any meaning in a speech. During the evaluation session, the Ah-Counter will announce who made how many crutches.
    • GrammarianA Grammarian is to note grammatical errors or misused or mispronounced words and will advise corrections. Also, every meeting will have a theme and word-of-the-day so speakers are encouraged to use the wotd as much as possible and grammarian will take note on it.
    • TimerA Timer is responsible for monitoring the time of meeting segments and speakers. A speaker must not exceed the given time or else he or she will not be qualified to be nominated for the Best Speaker of the day. Mr. Timer will signal speakers by his ‘traffic-lights’ and ‘ting’!
  3. Perform a 6-minute Prepared Speech on Ice Breaker. This is the very first project assignment in the Toastmasters module.

After fulfilling the third requirement, they will officially welcome us as the member of BP Toastmasters Club and from there we can begin our learning based on the modules provided and present more and more speeches.

As of now, I have completed the first two requirements so the next one is to perform my first prepared speech! I’ve booked a slot in the next meeting and now I’m sooo nervous even though the topic is just Ice Breaker! Haha.. After speech sessions, there will be an evaluation session from an expert who will comment on our speech and will point out any rooms of improvement. That’s the scary part huhu but actually not as scary as it may sound because they are all constructive feedback. But maybe embarrassing a bit. Aaa…

The question now is, why am I doing all theseeee? Is my job not busy enough? Haha. Definitely just for fun. It’s freee but they have limited quota so I better grab it quick! My job and my daily life do not force me to stand in front of many people to speak or present anything. I’m really in my comfort zone and plus, I’m kinda person who don’t bother to challenge myself to do this and that to prove myself to the world but I know this is not healthy. So I’m taking this as a bit of a challenge for myself to improve and become a better person.

Perhaps for some people it’s not a big deal at all but for such a person who is lacking in confidence and with my incompetency in proper verbal communication in English, this is such an enormous big deal! Not expecting a vast transformation in myself but I believe this little effort is not fruitless at all. Prepping my text for my first project speech; Good Luck, Self!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Disconnecting…

During my Umrah trip earlier this year, I disconnected myself from the world – pretty much, the entire time. I wanted to focus myself and my mind totally on the most precious journey of my life visiting the holy lands and performing obligations. Now that Ramadan is coming, I am thinking of doing the same too.

You know, I have this sort of serious addiction to the phone, or social medias, in particular. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, What’s App. These four icons are just enough to shove away my time without I realized it. Sometimes, or most times actually, I just wanted to check something on the phone but that something usually turns to many things. Just so many things coming my way and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Though I can excuse myself that there are many beneficial things I gain from the social medias as well, I can’t deny that time has been wasted so much. Scrolling and scrolling, that is a syndrome already.

Knowing myself well, I was determined to log out from everything and uninstall the apps at all for the whole 12-day trip – except What’s App, with the restriction to only respond to family groups just for quick updates. Time was extra precious I couldn’t afford to miss a thing, just because my eyes were on the phone and stole all my focus. So we weren’t best-friend for a while and one funny thing I found out was that, all the while prior to this trip, I always complained that my phone has grown too old that the battery could only last for less than an hour! When I was in Mecca & Medina, the battery lasted up to 2-3 days before I needed to recharge it. Haha I laughed at myself, amused and shamed at the same time.

And there I had the most splendid time ever. The view, the sound, the serenity were just so indescribable. I think I blinked less than usual. Not only mesmerized by the natural surroundings, I also paid good attention to the talks by the Mutawwif every time we gathered for briefing and on the bus going for ziarah. My mom said that I was lucky to have this Ustaz conducting our Umrah because he is so good. He didn’t only lead us but also instilled the elements of soul fulfilling, which is not what she experienced with other Mutawwif in her previous Umrahs. Ustaz Bakri, may Allah bless him and his families.

Divorcing myself with the phone for some time did not harm. I don’t regret not having a single picture with the two most beautiful mosques, I captured the views in my memory. I did snap more pictures at the hotels and ziarah places. Since I came home, there’s no single day goes by without me re-imagining myself around Masjidil Haram and Nabawi. Sometimes I am at the rooftop, sometimes right in front of Multazam. And I believe I will return some day, InsyaAllah.

Well, my Umrah as a whole wasn’t perfect, there were times I got tired and so sleepy I couldn’t sit straight. When I remember those times, I wish I could repeat my Umrah and patch the flaws I made. That’s what I can hope for but better off, I should look at what I have now – which is the incoming Ramadan the holiest month of all, if Allah wills me.

I plan to disconnect myself as I did and devote myself to more ibadah and related. Its a bit longer then the umrah duration but its still no harm, self, won’t harm. With the list of things ready for me to-do during the month, I think I’ve overbooked myself. Haha.. Being ambitious as always not considering the glitches I might surely have at some points of time. But the intention is there! Hehe..And truly I wanna better myself, even if it after all will only result just an inch of betterment from my current state.

I will always keep in mind these words by Nouman Ali Khan from one of his videos I watched. He explained the Quranic concept on improving ourselves and this is how he put it.. “Allah tells us to pray, all the way to closer – and I’m using ‘all the way’ on purpose. To Allah, you’re getting closer – not the closest, not to the end. You’re making it closer to guidance is the eventual goal. And for human being dies pursuing betterment – not perfection, just betterment – they’ll have, later, a successful life.”

Closer, better. Happy fasting everyone. May, in this month, we find the new contentment of life while striving towards betterment. Disconnecting…⁠⁠⁠⁠

Till the next post,
SALZY

31, But Thens…

Ambition was one of the most common questions being asked when we were a kid. We’d be like “When I grow up, I wanna be this…I wanna be that”… answering people. When we’re alone, we daydreamed beyond everyone’s expectation on us. It seemed like a very long way to go but we just couldn’t wait. Couldn’t wait to grow up and be what we wanted to be. Be on our own.

Today I turned 31. I am already at the when-I-grow-up age that I looked forward to when I was a little girl. I am an adult now and in fact, I’ve been an adult for years already.

But then… I am not the lady I pictured myself as, when I was young. I used to be very ambitious, you know? I wanted to be a career woman with corporate dress up and look intelligent.*Laugh*.

But then, here I am. A wage earner of a multi-national corporation who works 9 to 5 daily, an average executive who doesn’t seem like climbing the corporate ladder any higher. I have no professional certification to high-price my CV and I dress simple. Well, that’s not too bad. I’m happy with my job and daily routine now. Work-life balance.

But then, is this what they call a ‘comfort zone’? Am I already in a comfort zone at this age when my career has not even reached a decade yet? Always a parent’s wish to see their children grow up, get a good job and be successful. Is this a success already? Apparently not what I ambition-ed.

But then, what do I do to stand prouder of myself? Nowadays, doing business is more highly regarded in the community. You’re perceived as more independent and strong by running a business especially if you could brand yourself or your product.

But then, doing business was never in my frame. In fact, I tried, once, but it didn’t work out and I just didn’t enjoy it. And then I tried stock trading. It doesn’t have to plead people to buy, I just had to gain as much knowledge on the economic ins and outs.

But then, it’s still so heavy to me. It’s like going back to college with an obsolete brain but it’s okay it can be polished. With my duty at work and as a mother, I juggled. I couldn’t spare time on the day to study the stuff so I stayed up midnight. I joined one-time classes on the weekends and left the kids with my husband or the babysitter with extra charges. I called it a sacrifice.

But then, I realized my attention to my family went condensed. Even when I’m with the kids, my mind was busy picturing the charts and whatnot. I also had disagreement with my ex-stock-dealer husband who differed my trading practice and a lot more issues. This clash of priorities was so demanding. I was thinking, why do I have to trouble myself with all these problems when I don’t have to? I have a fine job and a steady family who needs much of my attention now so I should just focus on them. And so gave up trading.

But then, the kids will grow up and things will slow down. That time, I will look back and might be regret that I did not push myself a bit harder. I will grow old, retire and live depending on my pension money which maybe has lessened due to early withdrawals. What a force. I’m not gonna live the life I can call a success. So what do I do with my LIFE??

But then,  I realized all of my thoughts are all about life. Life in the dunya. The life that is certainly not permanent. I remember during my Umrah trip earlier this year, our first tawaf was led by the Mutawwif. After finishing the seven rounds circling the Kaabah, we performed prayers individually and gathered facing the Multazam (the part of the Kaabah that is between the Black Stone and the door of the Kaabah) for the Mutawwif to lead the du’a, we followed with ‘Ameen’. The du’a was so long. In my silence, I was surprised that the whole content of the prayers were all on repentance. Asking nothing but forgiveness. Nothing health, nothing wealth, nothing happiness, nothing worldly. I was stunned but in the end cried too.

Seriously…my life had been all about the world like it’s never gonna end. I always looked back thinking if-only’s when life is all what Allah has willed it. I’d been thinking of the life when-I-grow-old when growing old is not even certain. I’d been looking forward to my future age when the ultimate future is Jannah that we hope for. This is why I have so much but-then’s in my life. This gotta stop.

There’s a quote that says, “When you wake up with no other intention but to worship Allah, you have found the purpose of life”. Have I? For the next 32nd year onward, InsyaAllah. I’ll do my best. May Allah forgive me and all us for the excessive worldly thoughts over the life after death.

But then? Happy Birthday to me 🙂 Alhamdulillah.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Confessions of a Planner Addict

Guys! Do you realize that Ramadhan is only 38 days to go?? Yes, it’s true and I’m sooo excited about it! It has been like 2 months people keep sharing the countdown update to welcome the holiest month again. Suddenly today I realized that it is just next month! 27th May 2017 to be exact.

And do you know why I am suddenly so excited?? Haha. Yesterday I went to this Silver Linings Talk by Ustazha Yasmin Mogahed at the Federal Mosque with my buddies. There were a few booths opened outside of the hall selling her new book and also other Islamic products such as Ramadhan Planner. Ramadhan Planner guys?! A planner specially designed for us to carry the month wholly? It’s sooo cool I bought it straightaway! Even the fact that I already have an all-year planner.

Just so you know, I’m a Planner-Addict. I loveee planners so much I mean physical planners not digital. I can’t welcome a new year without one and in fact I always have more than one, mind me. Each for different purposes. Not to forget the accessories like colorful pens, stickers, note pads, washi tapes and clips!

Knowing me and my interest, people around me always associated me as an “organized” person. Planner – planning – organizing – organized. Particular, meticulous, proper, detailed and not to forget the most of an overstatement one; “OCD”.

The truth is? I AM THE MOST CLUTTERED PERSON ON EARTH.

My life is cluttered, my brain is cluttered, my desk is messy, my things are everywhere. I am lazy, a big procrastinator, unproductive especially in the mornings, a slow decision maker. I have so many things in mind and they’re stringing to each other. And while they’re pulling and twisting in my head, a panic-ball kicked in out of nowhere just to get lost in the crowd and makes the whole system jammed!

Now you are jammed too? Sorry for the negative vibes. Haha.

That’s how I am the total opposite from what people thought I was. Reality is I am struggling with my slothful self to get my things done. This is why I always need a planner to keep me going, to keep me sane. But that still does not mean I am an organized one. Sometimes, I can’t or just don’t want to even make time to sit and think of the day. And so I go on live unprepared.

Things get messier, new priorities coming, multiple postponement finally becomes urgent and in the end, I get stressful myself. To make it worse, my body reacts to stress in a way that makes me sick and emotional. Worst? When it’s accompanied by that P.M.S!

Up to this point I will get back to my planners and restart my life. Re-arrange things in order based on the importance and urgency, re-motivate myself, meditate moments, clear my mind and there I go. And the cycle goes on and on in a high frequency. I mean, staying organized can last for just like…a week or two? After that, “drama” begins again.

You see…such a big deal myself is. And you’re telling me I am orrrganized?? That is just an annoying sound I can’t process. I feel like have I been faking myself all my life?? I don’t! I just do what I love to do and I do it my way. But why are people seeing the other side of the coin?

If only they knew how disturbed I am with the random good comments they make on me, they’ll know how funny I am. Or maybe they don’t even mean it? Thinking too much. Haha. I remember when I travelled to UK, a friend of my friend called me “Ms. Inventory” when she saw my multiple pages of packing list.

And she said “Oh My God! Your house must be sooo systematic, right?”

You said my houseeee?? I crumpled my 10-page packing list with rolling eyes and sigh! No, I’m kidding. Hehehe…

That’s how perceptions are killing me softly. And so I made this confession that I am not an organized person that you thought I was. I struggle with myself daily to be a better person, to appreciate time that I have because “By time, indeed mankind is in loss.” [Qur’an, 103 : 1-2]. And planners are my little helpers and I’m doing it also due to my true love for stationery so much! My childhood obsession that never fades as I age. The end of my confessions.

Oh yeah, the Ramadhan Planner. I can’t wait to officiate it as it’s dated starting from Sha’ban month to start preparing for Ramadhan, and Sha’ban is just next week, guys! Ya Allah, may we all utilize the month wholeheartedly and gain as much compounded rewards as we hoped for. Let’s try our best.

Till the next post,
SALZY